Salads and wraps sold at Trader Joe's, other grocers recalled due to parasite concern

Federal health officials are warning consumers not to purchase 25 salad and wrap products sold at Trader Joe's, Walgreens and Mariano's parent, Kroger.

A public health alert released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection service says certain beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products may be contaminated with cyclospora.

The cyclospora parasite causes intestinal illness after consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms can begin a week or more after consuming the parasite. They can include diarrhea and frequent, sometimes explosive bowel movements, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those who are infected might also experience loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, gas and fatigue. Vomiting, headache, fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms can also occur.

The illness can last a few days to a few months, and patients might feel better, but then get worse again. Cyclosporiasis can be treated with antibiotics and is not fatal.

In this week's alert, the USDA said the problem was discovered when Indianapolis-based food distributor Caito Foods "received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled."

The list of products affected by the recall includes those produced between July 15-18 with either the "Best by," "Enjoy by," "Best if sold by" or "Sell by" dates ranging from July 18-23. The agency also released pictures of the products.

Shoppers who have purchased these products should throw them out or return to the place of purchase. Trader Joe's posted an information sheet on its website about its three products - Trader Joe's Tarragon Chicken Salad Wrap, Trader Giotto's Caesar salad with Chicken and Trader Ming's Chinese Inspired Salad with Chicken.

The parasite causing the illness is the same one that sickened McDonald's customers last month. The FDA has confirmed the presence of cyclospora in an expired salad mix, containing romaine lettuce and carrots, that was produced by the processor Fresh Express in Streamwood.

The FDA said last month that 163 reports of infections had been traced to McDonald's restaurants in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. McDonald's has said it removed potentially affected salads from restaurants and distribution centers, including about 3,000 in the Midwest.

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